In fact, it’s pretty hard not to love Jennifer Lawrence, who’s played some of the most compelling female roles in movies in the last few years, from Ree in Winter’s Bone to Katniss in The Hunger Games to Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook. But after the Academy Awards Sunday night we appreciate her even more, for taking the opportunity, talking to the press just after her win, to commit to fighting for openness about mental illness.
The director of Silver Linings, David O. Russell, has been fabulously direct about how his family’s struggles influenced the film, and Robert DeNiro made his own statement by actually crying on the Katie Couric show. Now Lawrence has stepped up as well, and we couldn’t be more pleased. “I don’t think we’re going to stop until we get rid of the stigma for mental illness,” she said. “I know David O. Russell won’t, and I hope that this helps.”
She went on to say, “It’s just so bizarre how in this world if you have asthma, you take asthma medication. If you have diabetes, you take diabetes medication. But as soon as you have to take medicine for your mind, it’s such a stigma behind it.”
If you ‘ve seen the movie, this comment is funny because it reflects the very first bonding moment between Tiffany and Pat, the bipolar character played by Bradley Cooper. The two have barely met before they blithely embarrass their dinner party companions by comparing notes on various meds they’ve taken.
In the movie Lawrence plays someone struggling with depression; she brings to the role a combination of vulnerability and toughness that’s hard to resist, and reflects the courage of many people who have wrestled with mental illness.